Afterschool clubs present additional opportunities for scholars to learn about interest areas not offered during regular school hours, and the interest in knitting and crocheting at Knapp is high. Twenty students make up the club, with the overflow bumped to their second choice. Interest for more learning is always high at Knapp, which has outperformed the local district for the past 13 years.
“This class was one of two that were maxed out, the other was Cooking and Baking,” Knapp Special Education Paraprofessional Kellie Kraus said. “I was super surprised when I saw there were 20 kids in this class. This club was offered to just third through eighth grade and I have someone from each grade but eighth.”
The club was formed in February and the budget was low. Kraus was concerned about being able to supply yarn and needles for 20 students. So, she reached out to a variety of places for donations.
“The Craft Outlet in Grand Rapids donated a ton of stuff to me,” she said. “They gave me a cart and said, ‘go pick out what you want.’ They were great. I go there pretty often, so it’s great to see them support our club.”
Students can choose to knit or crochet, and they work on making squares, then scarves and other items, depending on experience level.
“This is something I do if I’m sitting and doing nothing, or focusing on something else,” Kraus said. “I can sit and crochet, I don’t even have to look at it. I learned how to crochet when I was 6, and I learned to knit from my statistics teacher in college because I would fidget with things and I couldn’t focus.”
That was a common theme among the scholars, as they all seemed to be enjoying their time chatting while their hands were kept busy.
“I don’t really have a lot of hobbies and I like doing stuff with my hands,” eventh grader Eian Wackerle said. “I just thought it would be fun, and it is. We just learn and practice and try to make stuff.”
Another seventh grader, Sam Eckert, said she already knew how to crochet, so she was interested in spending some time with fellow students.
“I just like doing something after school,” she said. “My grandma taught me how to crochet. The most challenging thing is how long it takes. When I crochet at home I do it while I watch TV.”
Kraus said she now sees students at hobby stores picking up yarn or some will tell her about getting new crocheting hooks.
“It’s super exciting to see that they’re learning something new, and they enjoy doing it.”
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Knapp Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Grand Rapids, Michigan, serving students in Young 5s through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes over 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit nhaschools.com.
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